Friday, May 28, 2010

On being "Pro," and First Ride

I read something in CXMagazine yesterday (whilst perched upon the throne that is my bathroom toilet) that resonated with me and occupied most of my thoughts throughout the evening (in spite of 3 margaritas on that patio at my favorite restaurant and a rousing performance by my homies Bearfoot at the Station Inn).  It was an article about film maker Brian Vernon but it descended briefly into a tritise on pro infatuation and the resulting Anti-Pro movement (it's not a movement, really, but since I was having one at the time I was reading it I got a little confused and mixed up my experiences).  Basically acting pro, but being an ameteur, is strange.  Like my favorite video so eloquently points out, if you're not getting paid to do it, there's no reason to act like you are.  I had this pseudo-revelation last season when, about midway through my "base mileage" period, I looked down at my "training journal" and realized that I had no reason to waste my time keeping a "training journal."  What was I "training" for?  How many great rides or hikes or whatever had I missed because I was following what Joe Friel told me to do?  Now, I like Joe, and his book is awesome, if you follow the Cyclists Training Bible you will get fast, you will also lead a boring, one-dimensional life.  (I will admit, however, that time spent with this volume still influences my riding, and there's a ton of useful information in there, Joe's the man, but it gets a little over the top.  See Favorite Video above).  I'm just a part-time Single Speed Cyclocross Racer/Musician/Beer Enthusiast/whole lot of other things that don't even need to be made a part of this "identity" that I've conjured up, what business do I have checking my resting heart rate every morning?  I closed the "training journal" and haven't opened it since, choosing instead to do whatever I want whenever I want.  20 mile mountain bike ride the day before a race?  Sure!  Make it 30! (I won that race, incidentally).  10 beers?  Why not?  Hairy legs, purple tights, 10 year old helmet, camelbak?  HELL YEAH!! 

I threw all this "Pro-like training" out the window, rode where I wanted, when I wanted (when the weather and schedule allowed, really) and actually got faster and enjoyed my life more.  I beat guys with white bar tape (seriously, white bar tape?  It's fucking cyclocross.  Why don't you wear a damn wedding dress?).  I showed up late, didn't pre-ride, and warmed up in the grass (seriously, dude, what are you doing riding the indoor trainer outdoors in a parking lot?  Seriously!) and still crushed it. I don't understand the phenomenon of looking/acting "Pro." I don't get super expensive bikes, $1000 spare wheel sets or matching pit bikes.  I guess if that's how you want to spend your money or that's what yanks your crank that's cool too.  It'd be a lot more enjoyable for everyone if we just acted like normal people, turned ourselves inside out and worked less, rode more, laughed at the absurdity of cross and generally ditched the attitude.

On the other hand who am I to question your motives.  If I had tons of cash, I might buy a super expensive bike too (Vanilla understands black bar tape and custom handmade bikes receive immunity from my rant).  As long as you're out there riding and racing and participating, that's cool.  Just don't be surprised when the hippy on the $600 single speed crushes you, he's been out riding while you've been in your basement wrapping your handlebars with new white bar tape.  Because otherwise I have no pictures, I will post a photo of fellow blogger, and admitted Demi-Pro Thom.  I read his blog every day.  I've got issues, too.  He added the Dork, not me.

On a more personal note, went on my first ride since January 31st (when I beat like, 1 dude at the State Championships).  Just a little back and forth on the completely flat and completely sun-soaked Metro Center Greenway.  It was awesome.  Lighting was terrible and it was the Metro-Center Greenway so there wasn't anything worth photographing.  Brace chafes a little, to be expected, and pinches my already expanding leg, but I shouldn't complain.  Later that night I got frisky coming up my basement stairs, tripped, and absolutely drilled my bum knee into the top, un-carpeted stair, slicing it open and scaring the shit out of me.  All's well, however, since my knee is now super-bionic.  Should have taken a picture.

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